A year after new administrators vowed to improve North Carolina’s crippled probation system, staffing shortage are even worse, reports the Raleigh News and Observer. Despite a top-level shake-up designed to correct years of poor management, a reliance on outdated technology and chronically high caseloads for officers, 141 street-level positions are vacant, up 32 from roughly a year ago. An 8 percent vacancy rate coupled with a 10 percent turnover rate mean remaining officers are responsible for picking up the slack.
Correction officials say they delayed some hires in order to be able to offer jobs to employees of seven prisons the state is closing. They say they focused first on the work to close those prisons, a decision pushed on them by legislators trying to cut the budget. In North Carolina, roughly 40,000 offenders are in prison, and more than 111,000 are on probation. The state has roughly 1,750 probation officers and supervisors charged with helping low-level offenders rebuild their lives and stay out of costly prisons.